Words Are Not Enough


Our Story of the Week is Words Are Not Enough – a moving story from the writer Nicholas Russell.

Nicholas Russell taught applied biology, history of science and science communication in colleges and universities. He worked as a Head of Department of Humanities at Imperial College London where he is currently the Emeritus Reader in Science Communication. He also undertook educational development work for the Nuffield Foundation.

In 1986, Nicholas wrote a monograph based on his PhD thesis. In the late 1980s and 1990s he was a journalist for national newspapers and the science and educational trade press. He has written a smattering of academic papers and published a textbook on science communication in 2010. Writing short stories is Nicholas’ retirement project. His subject matter is ‘what people do all day’ at work, in their professions, with their vocations, doing their hobbies, feeding their obsessions, being creative, or just pottering.

In Words Are Not Enough, Nicholas highlights the importance of human connections and the effect one person can have on another.


The sounds he makes are strongly speech-like. Hearing them out of the corner of your ear, you might assume they are coherent talk. They aren’t, but to anyone who knows him well and hears him in the right context, they make sense.

“It’s a fag then young Tony? It’s raining though.”

He responds. There is a tone of anguish in his babble.

“OK, I’ll get an umbrella. Try to keep some of the rain off the both of us.”

Belinda grasps the handles of Tony’s wheelchair, manoeuvres it awkwardly towards the art room door and down the ramp into the corridor, a gloomy and cheerless tube on a dull morning.

The whole of Tony veers alarmingly to the left.

Keeping the chair on the straight and narrow lane takes all Belinda’s concentration.

She stops the chair by the common room door and stabs the brake on with her foot.Read more…


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